Data mining emotion in social network communication: Gender differences in MySpace

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Abstract

Despite the rapid growth in social network sites and in data mining for emotion (sentiment analysis), little research has tied the two together, and none has had social science goals. This article examines the extent to which emotion is present in MySpace comments, using a combination of data mining and content analysis, and exploring age and gender. A random sample of 819 public comments to or from U.S. users was manually classified for strength of positive and negative emotion. Two thirds of the comments expressed positive emotion, but a minority (20%) contained negative emotion, confirming that MySpace is an extraordinarily emotion-rich environment. Females are likely to give and receive more positive comments than are males, but there is no difference for negative comments. It is thus possible that females are more successful social network site users partly because of their greater ability to textually harness positive affect.

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